Keystone Pipeline Draws No Objections From Pentagon After Review

The Pentagon “continues to have no objection” to approving the Keystone XL pipeline, a U.S. Defense Department official said.

Michael Bruhn, executive secretary to the defense secretary, said in a letter to his counterpart at the State Department that the Pentagon’s position hasn’t changed since views it provided on the TransCanada Corp. project in March.

“The Department is not aware of any substantive changes in the intervening period and it continues to have no objection to the granting of the subject permit to TransCanada,” Bruhn said in the letter that was sent on Jan. 30 and obtained Friday.

Eight federal agencies had until Monday to file comments to the State Department as it considers whether Keystone, which crosses an international boundary, is in the U.S. national interest. The department has no deadline for making a decision on the pipeline permit.

The Environmental Protection Agency and the departments of Energy, Interior and Justice said they’d submitted comments, but wouldn’t release them to the public. The EPA, in a separate letter responding to a 2014 environmental analysis, said falling oil prices may make Keystone’s impact on the climate greater than an earlier analysis suggested.

Bruhn said in his letter that a real estate agreement would have to be obtained from the Defense Department if any facilities for the pipeline are “sited, constructed, expanded or operated” on land owned by the department.

Proposed in 2008, Keystone would deliver Alberta oil sands to U.S. Gulf Coast refineries. The project has pitted Obama’s allies in the environmental movement against the U.S. energy industry. Obama has said he’ll reject it if it would lead to a significant increase in carbon pollution.

The president also has said he’d veto legislation requiring approval of the pipeline that’s pending in the Republican-led Congress. The House plans to vote next week on a Senate-passed measure.

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